The South Carolina Gamecocks baseball team took the series win against the Georgia Bulldogs with stellar pitching and home runs on Saturday and Sunday. The Gamecocks improve to 19-7 on the season and 6-3 in SEC play, winning their second SEC series in a row.
This is the first time since 2013 that South Carolina has taken a series over Georgia, and it is its first time doing so on the road in Athens since 2010.
South Carolina dropped game one to the Georgia Bulldogs 5-3 on Friday night due to defensive struggles late in the game.
While the Gamecocks got on the board first after a three-run homer from junior first baseman David Mendham, they couldn't keep the momentum going through the rest of the game to keep the lead.
The Bulldogs out-hit Carolina 10-5 and capitalized late in the game when the Gamecocks started struggling on pitching and defense.
“Both teams pitched well, we just weren’t quite as sharp out of the bullpen and defense late in the game and that was the difference,” head coach Mark Kingston said postgame.
Carolina’s Friday night guy, redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Thomas Farr, had another solid outing on the mound with seven strikeouts and no walks, only allowing two runs on six hits.
Despite a strong start from Farr, he was taken out of the game after only 78 pitches and 5.2 innings, with redshirt sophomore lefty Julian Bosnic coming in for relief.
Kingston said he’s “disappointed we couldn’t do better behind him,” and Farr “bounced back really well.”
The bullpen struggled behind Farr, with Bosnic coming in at the bottom of the sixth and allowing one run on two hits and walking one, bringing senior right-hander Andrew Peters out to finish the inning.
Peters recorded his first loss of the season after allowing the game-winning two runs for Georgia and walking two batters in 1.2 innings.
South Carolina bounced back from its game one loss to the Bulldogs, beating them 13-7 Saturday.
The Gamecocks fell behind early after senior right-handed pitcher Brannon Jordan gave up a second-inning solo home run. Fifth-year Gamecock senior shortstop George Callil answered back with a two-run opposite-field shot to give South Carolina a 2-1 lead.
“George getting that big hit there kind of helped everybody relax a little bit,” Kingston said postgame.
South Carolina's bats came alive after that, with the score reaching 8-1 in the top of the seventh.
Jordan broke his career-high number of strikeouts in an SEC game and tied his total for any game with 11 on the day. He began to fade in the seventh inning, loading up the bases and walking in the Bulldogs' second run.
Jordan “lost it a little bit there at the end, but he was outstanding today,” Kingston said.
Jordan got two outs in the seventh but was pulled leaving the bases loaded.
Junior right-handed pitcher Brett Kerry came on in relief and the first batter hit a single down the line that scored two runs. A fielding error by sophomore third baseman Brennan Milone and another RBI single by the Bulldogs left the Gamecocks with a much slimmer 8-6 lead.
“Pitching was outstanding outside of one inning where just nothing would go our way,” Kingston said.
Kerry struck out four and gave up five hits in 2.1 innings of work. He gave up a solo homer in the eighth, but other than that, he appeared settled after the chaotic seventh he was thrown in to clean up.
Junior catcher Wes Clarke’s nation-leading 15th home run of the year helped the Gamecocks push the score up to 13, ending the game with a 13-7 win over the Bulldogs.
The Gamecocks secured the series win against the Bulldogs with a 5-1 win on Easter Sunday behind elite pitching from freshman righthander Will Sanders and three more home runs.
Sanders pitched a career-high eight innings, only allowing one run on eight hits and no walks while striking out four batters. He also made some great plays while fielding the position.
"His fastball was elite today, spotting up real well, slider was here and there, but he showed it enough, and the change-up was just absolutely unreal today," sophomore catcher Colin Burgess said postgame.
The Gamecocks continued to dominate offensively, taking the lead from the first pitch, as junior outfielder Brady Allen hit his seventh home run of the year out of the park to open the game.
Sophomore catcher Colin Burgess hit his third home run of the year in the fifth to regain the lead after Georgia scored on a ground out in the third. Allen secured the lead with another two-run homer in the same inning.
Burgess brought in another run in the sixth on a fly-out that scored Clarke, one of the few runs not scored on a home run for Carolina this weekend.
When talking about offense, Burgess said postgame that “our ceiling's so high, we’re rolling."
Bosnic got his first save of the year to finish the game off after coming out in relief of Sanders in the ninth and getting the Gamecocks out of a sticky situation with runners on second and third.
“Will Sanders was great today, and I just think it continues to show the progress and improvement of our team," Kingston said postgame. "From Texas to Vanderbilt to here, we’re getting better every week and every time we go on the road."
The Gamecocks will head to Charlotte, North Carolina on Tuesday to face the University of North Carolina Tarheels. The first pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m., and the game will be broadcast on the SEC Network.